ExxonMobil Guyana’s US$300,000 (G$62M) contribution to the Iwokrama International Centre back in November has paved the way for the re-launching of the entity’s Science Programme. The first meeting for the Iwokrama Science Committee was held on February 12-13 where the prospect of shaping a new research strategy was discussed.
Iwokrama said in a press release that the inaugural meeting took place at the Iwokrama River with key staffers in attendance. Initial members of this Committee includes Professor Kamal Bawa (University of Massachusetts, Boston and ATREE Trust), Dr. Braulio Ferreira De Souza (former Executive Secretary of Convention for Biological Diversity, Dr. Thomas Wagner (Edinburgh University), Dr. Patrick Chesney (Agro Forestry Expert and formerly of UNDP), Calvin Bernard (University of Guyana), Andrew Mitchell (Global Canopy Programme), Dane Gobin (CEO, Iwokrama), Dr. Raquel Thomas (Iwokrama).
A meeting was also held with representatives of the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB), including the Toshao of Fair View Village, and comments about some of the areas that they would like to see targeted were shared. The Fair View village is the only village of the 20 NRDDB villages that is located within the Iwokrama Forest.
In November 2017, Iwokrama announced the new partnership with ExxonMobil to re-establish the internationally prestigious Science Programme. The intention is to action key scientific research within the Iwokrama forest and its environs.
“For ExxonMobil we felt this would fit extremely well because it highlights two factors that are inherent in the core of our company and that is science and protecting the environment,” ExxonMobil Country Manager, Rod Henson said at the announcement of the contribution in November.
This initial contribution from has provided support for the establishment of the Iwokrama Science Committee, commission research and gap baseline studies, based on the advice of the Committee members, to inform a more comprehensive program on biodiversity and other relevant research.
Iwokrama said further meetings will be held during the first half of the year with the expectation that a new five year science programme will be developed by June 2018.